Finance

GOP bill would eliminate Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

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Two Republican lawmakers introduced Tuesday companion bills to eliminate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the controversial watchdog agency long targeted by the GOP.

The bills from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) would repeal Title X of the Dodd-Frank Act, which established the CFPB.

Republicans have long sought to eliminate or drastically reform the CFPB, but Cruz and Ratcliffe’s approach goes further than current GOP proposals to reshape the bureau.

{mosads}Cruz said in a statement his bill “gives Congress the opportunity to free consumers and small businesses from the CFPB’s regulatory blockades and financial activism, which stunt economic growth.”

“While there’s much more to do to scale back the harmful regulatory impositions of Dodd-Frank, this legislation takes a critical step in the right direction,” said Cruz.

The Senate bill is co-sponsored by Republican Sens. Mike Lee (Utah), Rand Paul (Ky.), James Inhofe (Okla.) and Mike Rounds (S.D.).

Ratcliffe said “President Trump has made it clear he’ll join us in our fight to dismantle Dodd-Frank,” possibly referring to the president’s pledge to deconstruct the law without providing details on how the White House would like to do so.

“I’m optimistic at our renewed chances of advancing this effort with a willing partner in the White House,” said Ratcliffe.

Republicans have consistently opposed the CFPB since the agency opened in 2011. They say the bureau — controlled by an independent director with regulatory and punitive power — is unaccountable and too powerful.

House Republicans have proposed replacing the director with a bipartisan commission and letting Congress control the CFPB budget, currently funded by the Federal Reserve.

But a recent memo from House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) contained an idea to keep the CFPB’s director while eliminating much of the bureau’s punitive and regulatory powers. It would still be subject to congressional funding under the new proposal.

Democrats are staunch defenders of the CFPB. They cite the more than $11 billion in restitution the agency won for defrauded Americans, and high-profile enforcement and regulatory actions taken against Wells Fargo, payday lenders and other financial services providers

Updated at 5:02 p.m.

Tags James Inhofe Mike Lee Rand Paul Ted Cruz

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